cover image Seductive as Flame

Seductive as Flame

Susan Johnson. Berkley Sensation, $7.99 mass market (336p) ISBN 978-0-425-24490-6

Johnson’s fourth 1890s romance (after Sweet as the Devil) skimps on the plot but not the passion. Griselda MacKenzie is brazen, confident, and independent. At a country house party, she’s introduced to wildly handsome libertine Alec Munro, earl of Dalgliesh. He wants her in his bed, but she hesitates because he’s married. This morality feels out of place among the cast of adulterous thousands, especially considering how quickly Zelda succumbs to temptation, and reformed rakes extolling monogamy are hard to take seriously. Zelda loves sex, Alec is only slightly daunted by her forward manner, and the bedroom scenes feel like one long and somewhat repetitive bacchanal. Only true fans will be able to plow through the endless orgy and wearisome discussions of how and when Alec will divorce his wife so he and Zelda can be together forever. (Dec.)